Kirakos Ganjakets'i's

History of the Armenians



15. Concerning those of [Mxit'ar's] students who were prominent.


[181] There were many people who studied doctrine with him since the renown of his learning had reached everywhere. They came to him from all areas since, true to his name [Mxit'ar (Mxit'arich', "comforter")], he comforted everyone. He was a consoler resembling Barnabus and noted among the people like Anton. His words, full of grace were efficacious and everyone wanted to see and hear him. For this reason, many who held the title of vardapet concealed their identities [g217] and came as students and received the command again. Many of Mxit'ar's students attained the title of vardapet. But two of them were more learned than the others and able to assist others in turn. First was T'oros, from Armenian Melitene, whose father was Armenian and whose mother was Syrian. He was a meek and humble man, virtutous, very fond of the poor, a host to strangers, and generous with gifts. Having lived such a benevolent life, he was gathered to his fathers in ripe old age. He is buried above the renowned monastery of Haghbat, in the cemetary of bishops and vardapets. May his memory be blessed and his prayers, a buttress for the faithful.

The second [noteworthy student] was named Vanakan. He [182] was a holy, modest man, foremost in all good works, rational and sensitive to all and more competent in doctrine than all the others of his time. He was an excellent, creative thinker who could speak appropriately. For these reasons many people came to him, not only to study doctrine, but indeed his entire life and activity were unwritten laws for the observers. I say this not merely as someone who heard it from others, but as an eyewitness, for we spent much time with him getting an education in the borders of Tawush fortress [g218] in the retreat where he had his abode. Like a fountain [of wisdom] he gave us the words of doctrine to drink.


16. The death of the great vardapet called Gosh.


This venerable man of whom we spoke above, reached great old age, having kept his faith. But when he saw that his bodily strength was failing and that he was close to joining his fathers, he called the residents of the congregation of Nor Getik who had shared with him in all the labors of the church and monastery, and he blessed them and his students in the name of the Lord. Selecting one of them, named Martiros, who had studied with him and was his intimate, Mxit'ar appointed him as their director. Martiros was a youth [183] but perfected in learning, a man mellifluous in the songs of worship, a great reader, and a speedy writer. Mxit'ar commanded him to direct them. And he wrote a will to the great hazarapet Iwane, Zak'are's brother, and entrusted to him the monastery and its director. Then he himself, white-haired [g219] and ripe in years, passed from this world to Christ.

The director of the monastery, Martiros, together with the congregation handsomely saw to the proper requirements for the spiritual and physical burial of Mxit'ar. They laid him to rest before the door of the smaller church which stands above the monastery on the west side. And to this day Mxit'ar's grave aids those in pain who take refuge in his prayers, in faith; and people always take soil from that place to cure sick people and animals, for God glorifies those that glorify Him, in life and in death.

Once it happened that his servitors came up bringing wine on asses, for the monastery's needs. A certain Georgian named Basila came and wanted to take some of that wine from them, for he was Iwane's official in charge of the grove which guarded his lodging. But the attendants said to him: "Do not bother us for we are Gosh's people" (that is the nickname they gave him since he had little hair). But this wretched man [184] insulted them and Gosh with curses. Now as soon as he ridiculed Gosh's name, he immediately became dumb, his tongue froze, his lips became twisted, and thus he remained for many days until, sighing, he requested forgiveness [g220]. And everyone who saw the man praised [Gosh] the servant of God.

As a memorial [Gosh] left [his writings,] books filled with profound words, beneficial for students: an abbreviated version of the prophecy of Jeremiah, beautifully executed, and a few canons concerning attendance on the Body and Blood of the Lord—what is proper, and in what order. He also left a book Lamentations on Nature, opposing Adam to his sons and Eve to her daughters; and another book, Declaration of the Orthodox Faith against All Heretics, at the request of the great general Zak'are and his brother, and other letters giving counsel. [Gosh's] death occurred in 662 A.E. [1213].


17. Concerning who held the directorship of the monastery after him.


The monastery became glorified and renowned through the name and wisdom of the holy vardapet Martiros the director, for he was a builder. He built yet another parsonage-house of undressed stones joined with lime, with well-secured walls [185] and a wooden garret. This garret subsequently collapsed [g221]. He also built a lovely storied library artistically inspired by Mxit'ar, who had aided the church and the monastery in many ways.

Many monks assembled there because of the renown of the place and it became for many a place of nourishment and learning. In fact, we ourselves were nourished and educated in this very monastery.

They also started to build a church with five altars of polished, dressed stones, a beautiful design with a dome. But when the church was half completed, a delay occurred which lasted a long while, since the sultan of Khurasan, Jalal al-Din [the Khwarazmshah], came and struck the forces of the Armenians and Georgians, and ruined numerous districts. For this and many other reasons, the church remained unfinished. Later a man named Grigor Kapalets'i, who previously had been instrumental in building the church, once again took the matter in hand and completed it in 690 A.E. [1241].

Iwane, Zak'are's brother, also died [that year] and was buried at Pghndzahank' near the church which he himself had built, taking it from the Armenians and making it into a Georgian monastery. Before dying, Iwane entrusted his son and home to [186] a certain prince Grigor whom he had nourished and elevated, and who was called Tgha [g222].

This Grigor requested from Iwane's son Awag the monastery of Getik for his grave site; and because [Awag] greatly loved him, he gave it to him. [Grigor] also purchased from him a village named Vashxe close by the Aghstev river and gave it to the monastery along with much wealth, books, crosses, and animals. He also built a wondrous church, an amazing structure, with three altars close to the portico of the church, and named the church in honor of Saint Gregory. There were many other structures within it. The number of priests, attendants and young students increased. Martiros held the directorship for twenty years, resigning voluntarily. After him, [the directorship was held by] a certain Mxit'ar, by Yovasap', and others who ruled briefly, and by vardapet Abraham. [They were followed by] lord Yovhannes Armanets'i who was simultaneously director of Haghartsin and had been ordained bishop in 705 A.E. [1256]. At Haghartsin [Yovhannes] built a noteworthy refectory of brightly polished stone, and then went to the great throne at Haghbat. In 703 A.E. [1254] vardapet Xach'atur and his brother Barsegh built a domed church with three altars opposite the monastery, in honor of Saint Georg [g223].


18. Concerning Sultan Jalal al-Din and the destruction of the Georgian army in 674 A.E. [1225].


[187] Previously we spoke of the people from the northeast called T'at'ars. These T'at'ars harassed the sultan of Khurasan, Jalal al-Din, striking his army and destroying his lands. They caused him to flee through the land of Aghbania and he came and captured the city of Gandzak. He then assembled his countless troops from among the Iranians, Tachiks and Turks, and came to Armenia.

When Iwane learned of this circumstance, he informed the king of Georgia and massed troops to resist the sultan. Pridefully he boasted most arrogantly and the king and Iwane made an agreement that if Iwane defeated Jalal al-Din, all the Armenians under their sway would convert to the Georgians' faith, while they would kill those resisting. This scheme, and the vow they made, took no account of God nor of His concern, nor did they ask the Lord Who grants victory to whomever He pleases.

Now the sultan had come to the Kotayk' district. Iwane [g224] went with the Georgian army and came opposite them but on higher ground. Seeing them, [Iwane] was frightened and encamped there. But the sultan moved his troops forward, coming [188] against them. Now as soon as this was observed by one of the senior Georgian princes, Shalue, and by his brother Iwane, men brave and renowned and triumphant in battle, they said to the other troops: "You stay here and wait while we go and engage them. If we put some of them to flight in our pursuit, the victory is ours. [If that happens] come forth. But if they defeat us, then flee and save your lives."

As soon as they engaged them, they began to destroy the sultan's army. But the Georgian soldiers paid no attention and instead fled the place, such that a man did not recognize his comrade in flight. And all of them, out of fright, left without anyone pursuing them. They pressed down into the valley above the town of Garhni, and filled it up. When the sultan's forces observed this, they pursued them, killed many, and hurled others over the cliffs.

The sultan came to the head of the valley and witnessed a pitiful spectacle. For a multitude of men and horses lay there piled up like a heap of rocks. He shook his head and said: "This is not the work of man, but of God for Whom all is possible." He then turned to rob the corpses of the fallen [g225], and, having devastated many places, went off to the city of Tiflis. The Iranians residing there aided him and he captured [189] the city killing many people and forcing many others to abandon Christianity and accept the deceptive and fanatical teaching of the Tachiks. Many, terrified by the fear of death, exchanged Truth for falsehood; but others bravely preferred death to a life of guilt, and so inherited the title of martyr, departing the world with a good name.

Then [Jalal al-Din] commanded that those who consented and those who did not be forcibly circumcised, without inquiry. Thus two men would brutally seize someone there in the square while another man would take a sword and cut the foreskin off his male member. They commingled with the women in loathsome obscenity. Wherever they found a cross or a church, they pulled it down and destroyed it. This occurred not only in Tiflis, but in Gandzak, Naxichewan, and elsewhere.

Now there was a certain nobleman named Orghan whose wife was the sultan's mother. He oppressed the residents of the city of Gandzak with manifold torments—not merely the Christians, but the Iranians too—by demanding numerous [g226] taxes. This man was killed in Gandzak by the Mulhed [Assassins], whose custom it is to kill people treacherously. While he was going about the city streets, some people approached him, feigning that they had been wronged by someone and [190] that they were approaching him to set things right. They showed [Orghan] a piece of paper which they had in hand, saying beseechingly: "Trial, trial!" As soon as he stopped and wanted to inquire about who had molested them, from one side and the other, they pounced on him and with a sword they had concealed on their persons, they stabbed and slew him. And so the wicked one was wickedly done away with. They were hardly able to slay [Orghan's] murderers with arrows, for [the Assassins] killed many people and fled through the city. Such is the custom of this group which had seized the secure places called T'un and T'anjak [in northern Iran] as well as the forests of Lebanon, taking the price of their blood from the prince whom they worshipped instead of God, and giving [the money] to their sons and women. They went wherever their prince sent them where they would masquerade in various garbs until they found the appropriate moment to strike, then they would kill whomever they pleased. Therefore all the princes and kings feared them and paid taxes to them. And they were extremely faithful in carrying out the commands of their prince [g227], doing whatever he said, even to the point of killing themselves. Thus they killed many grandees who did not pay them taxes, just as they killed this impious man.


19. Concerning the destruction of Sultan Jalal al-Din, and his removal from the world.


[191] After [Jalal al-Din] had done these evil deeds, he went to the city of Xlat' which is in the land of Bznunik'. This area was under the authority of Sultan Ashraf who fought with him, but [Jalal al-Din] triumphed. Residing there was the wife of the sultan, the daughter of Iwane, named T'amt'a whom we mentioned above. Jalal al-Din took her as his wife and went on to ruin many districts under the sway of the Sultan of Rum, named 'Ala al-Din. Then Sultan Ashraf and his brother Kamal who ruled Egypt and 'Ala al-Din called to their aid the Armenian forces from the land of Cilicia as well as the coastal Franks, and they came and did battle with the Khwarazmian Jalal al-Din. As soon as the two sides [g228] neared each other, they became frightened and did not dare to fight. But, calling upon God, the Armenian and Frankish Christians attacked them. They were few in number, less than a thousand. But with the power of Christ, they struck the enemy and put them to flight. When the Tachiks saw that, they too attacked and destroyed many until sunset. Then the sultans commanded their men not to pursue the fugitives, since they were coreligionists; and they ceased the pursuit. Now the sultans, because they were pious men, were not ungrateful [192] toward the Christian soldiers, since they knew that the Lord had caused their triumph through them.

Then they returned to their lands in great joy and as they passed through cities and districts, [people] came before them, receiving them with praise, dancing and clashing cymbals.

Now when 'Ala al-Din reached Caesarea of Cappadocia, the entire multitude of the city, including the Christians with their priests with crosses and bell-ringers, came a good day's [g229] journey out on the road before him. When the sultan approached, the Tachik multitude did not allow the Christians to go near to mingle in their adoration of him. Instead, they shoved them to the rear. But the Christians went up onto a hill opposite the army. When the sultan asked who those people were, and learned that they were Christians, he himself left his troops and went up among them alone, ordering them to worship aloud sounding their bells. And thus he entered the city with them, gave them gifts, and dispatched each to his place.

Now Sultan Jalal al-Din returned to the land of Aghbania, to the fruitful and fertile Mughan plain, in great disgrace. He encamped there and wanted to assemble an army. However, the T'at'ars who had expelled him from his country as a fugitive [193] pursued him and chased him as far as Amida where they ferociously struck his forces. The impious prince died in that very battle. But some say he went on foot as a fugitive and that a man chanced upon him and recognized him as the one who had earlier slain one of his relations and so killed him to avenge his relative's blood. Thus the wicked one died wickedly [g230].


20. How the T'at'ars arose to pollute the entire world.


Our entire history and introductory section to this point leads up to [a description of] this people [the Mongols], about whom we shall now relate. It seems to me that even if many other [authors] narrate the same events, they will nonetheless all be found lacking, for the evils which afflicted all lands are more than can be related. For this is the end of time; and precursors have spoken about the Antichrist and the arrival of the sons of destruction. We too are frightened by the revelations of blessed men borne up by God, aided by the Holy Spirit in predicting the future, and especially the true command of our Savior and God which states: "I shall lift up nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom and this will be the beginning of their sufferings [Matthew 24, 7, 8]." Moreover, [194] our patriarch, Saint Nerses prophetically spoke about the destruction of Armenia by the Nation of Archers, destruction and ruin encompassing all lands, which we have witnessed with our own eyes. The circumstances of their rise are as follows:

In a distant land to the northeast [g231] (called in their barbarous language Qara-Qorum (Gharaghrum) by the borders of Qara-Khitai (Ghatiay, ?Cathay) there dwelled a barbarian multitude, an ignorant, countless horde called T'at'ars, who had for their king someone named Chingiz-Khan (Ch'angez ghan).

It happened before his death, while he was dying that [Chingiz-Khan] summoned all his troops and the three sons he had and said to the soldiers: "Behold, I am dying. Choose whichever one of my sons here that you please and elect him as your king in my stead. They replied: "Whomever you select we shall take as our king and serve loyally." Thereupon [Chingiz-Khan] said: "I shall tell you about the virtues and deeds of my three sons. My first-born son is Chaghatai (Ch'aghata). He is a martial man who loves war. But he is proud by nature, more than he should be. Now my second son is also triumphant in battle, but stingy. As for my youngest son, he has been gracious from his childhood, full of virtue, generous in gift-giving and, from the time of his birth, my glory and greatness has increased daily. Behold, I have told [195] you the entire truth. Prostrate yourselves in front of whichever of the three you choose" [g232].

They approached the youngest, whose name was Ogedei-Khan (Hok'ta) and bowed to the ground before him. His father placed the crown on his head and then died.

Now as soon as Ogedei assumed the royal authority, he mustered a force as countless as the sands of the sea, comprised of his own people called Mughal T'at'ars, Khazars, Huns, Ghatiats'ik' (?Qara-Khitai), Ankitans and many other barbarian peoples with their goods and armies, women, sons, and tents. He divided them into three detachments: one group he sent to the south, appointing as its chief director one of those men faithful and loyal to him; another detachment he sent to the west and north, his son with them; while the third front was sent to the northeast under the leadership of a nobleman named Chormaghun (Ch'armaghun), a wise and learned man, successful in warfare. Ogedei commanded them to ruin and devastate all the lands and kingdoms in the world, and not to return to him until they had encompassed all lands and subdued them under his dominion. As for Ogedei, he stayed there in that land eating and drinking and disporting himself with diversions and building without a care [g233].

[196] His forces went to various parts of the world, destroying lands and districts, terminating the rule of nations, taking the goods and properties and enslaving the young women and children. There were those [captives] they sent far away, to their own land to their king, the Khan, and there were those they seized to serve the needs of their own families.

As for the army sent via the east (whose chief was Chormaghun-noyin), it went against Sultan Jalal al-Din who ruled Khurasan and the districts around it, and expelled him and his forces, making him a fugitive as we explained earlier. Then, in succession, they ravaged all the lands of Iran, Atrpatakan and Dilm [Daylam], totally pillaging one after the other so that nothing would remain as an obstacle for them. They also captured large and beautiful cities such as Ray (Re) and Isfahan (Aspahan) which were filled with good things, then rebuilt them in their name. Thus they took all the lands through which they passed.

And then, with the whole mass of their families and goods, they arrived in the land of Aghbania/Aghuania, in the fruitful and fertile plain called Mughan, a place full of all kinds of [g234] important things: water, wood, fruit and prey. Pitching their tents, they encamped there, remaining the entire winter. [197] In springtime they spread out in various directions, looting and destroying, and again returned [to Mughan] and settled.


21. Concerning the destruction of the city of Gandzak.


This city was densely populated with Iranians and a small number of Christians. It was extremely inimical to Christ and His worship, insulting and cursing the Cross and the Church, scorning and deriding the priests and attendants. Therefore, when their limit of sin had filled up, the protest against their wickedness rose to the Lord. Earlier a sign of their [impending] destruction appeared, just as had happened above Jerusalem, before its destruction. For suddenly the ground tore asunder and black water gushed forth. An extremely large poplar tree (which they call chandari) which was close to the city was observed to turn around. At this apparition [g235] the entire city trembled. But then they saw that the tree was positioned as before. This happened two or three times; thereafter the tree fell over and stood no more. Then the wise men [of Gandzak] commenced examining the sign to learn what it meant. And when they learned that it was a foreshadowing of the city's destruction, they stopped abusing the crosses [198] which they had placed under the threshold of the city's gates. They had put them there for abuse so that all passersby would step on them.

Suddenly the T'at'ar army arrived and besieged Gandzak on all sides, battling it with numerous war machines. They struck the orchard which surrounded the city. They then demolished the city wall, using catapults on all sides. However, none of the enemy entered the city. They simply remained there fully armed for a week, guarding it.

Now once the inhabitants saw that the enemy had taken the city, some went inside their homes and burned the structures above them, so that nothing would fall into the enemies' hands. Others burned everything that fire could burn, but excepted themselves. When the enemy observed this they became furious and put everyone to the sword: man, woman, and child. And no one escaped them but for a small armed and fully prepared [g236] brigade which broke through one part of the wall at night and fled. Some few dregs were also spared and tortured to reveal where the treasures were kept. Then they killed some of them and took the rest captive. They then dug through the charred homes and removed whatever they found concealed there. They were occupied with this for many days. Then they departed.

[199] Next the T'at'ars circulated through all the districts around the city to dig up and hunt for goods and wares. They discovered many articles made of gold, silver, copper and iron, as well as various garments which had been hidden in cellars and subterranean chambers.

Thus the city [of Gandzak] remained desolate for four years. [The Mongols] then commanded that it be rebuilt, and a few people slowly assembled there and rebuilt it, except for the wall.


22. Concerning the destruction of the lands of Armenia and Georgia by that same army.


A few years after the destruction of Gandzak, this fanatical and wily army divided up by lot all the lands of Armenia, Georgia, and Aghbania/Aghuania, each chief according to his [g237] importance receiving cities, districts, lands and fortresses in order to take, demolish, and ruin them. Each [chief] went to his allotted area with his wives, sons and military equipment where they remained without a care, polluting and eating all the vegetation with their camels and livestock.

[200] At this time the Georgian kingdom was greatly weakened, for it was in the hands of a woman named Rusudan, daughter of T'amar, sister of Lasha, grandchild of Giorg, a lewd and lascivious woman, like Shamiram, headstrong toward all the men sent to her, sleeping with many but remaining barren. Rusudan excercised authority through the commanders Iwane and his son Awag, Shahnshah (son of Zak'are), Vahram and others. Because Iwane had died shortly before, they took and buried him in Pghndzahank' (which he had made into a Georgian monastery, taking it from the Armenians). Iwane's son excercised his father's authority. And since they were unable to withstand that great blizzard [of Mongols] which had come, they all betook themselves to fortresses, wherever they were able [g238].

[The Mongols] spread throughout the plains, mountains and valleys like a multitude of locusts or like torrential rains pouring down on the land. The land presented the picture of the most pitiful disasters and of mourning worthy of lamentation. For the land did not conceal those who tried to hide, nor did the rocks or forests conceal those who sought refuge in them, nor the most sturdily constructed fortresses, nor the ravines of the valleys. Instead, all who were hiding were ferreted out. Men's bravery deserted them, and the strong [201] hands of the bowmen weakened. They hid their weapons, those who had them, so that the enemy would not see them and mercilessly kill them. The voices of the enemy paralyzed them and the rustle of their quivers filled everyone with terror. Each man saw the hour of his death come before him and their hearts died within them. Children fled to their parents from fear of the sword, and their parents with them fell from fright before falling to the enemy.

One could see swords mercilessly cutting down men and women, youths and children, old men and old women, bishops, priests, deacons, and clerks. Suckling children were hurled against the rocks, beautiful virgins were raped and enslaved.

It was frightful to behold their appearance and their cruel lack of compassion; [the Mongols] pitied not a single mother's [g239] tears nor a single grey head, but went on punishing and killing as if enjoying themselves at a wedding or a drinking-bout.

The whole country filled up with the corpses of the dead yet there was no one to bury them. Tears appeared in the eyes of lovers but no one dared to weep, out of fear of the impious ones.

The country was draped in mourning and its magnificent [202] beauty was destroyed. Its worship was blocked and mass ceased to be offered at its altars, the singing of songs was no longer heard. The whole land was plunged into darkness and people preferred the night to the day. The country was drained of its inhabitants and foreigners moved about in it.

Goods and property were ravished, though their greedy nature could never be satisfied. Houses and rooms were searched and there was nothing left that they did not take. They moved about here and there like swift mountain goats and wrecked and tore things apart like wolves. Their horses did not tire at the pace, nor did [the Mongols] tire of amassing booty.

Thus severity was visited upon many peoples and tongues for the cup of the Lord's wrath poured down over the country in vengeance for our wicked deeds and for sinning before Him; and His just rage was kindled. Therefore the entrance [of the Mongols] into [g240] every land was made easy. As soon as they had captured all lands, they gathered up all the animals (those which had fled and those which had not), the goods and property and multitude of slaves, which were out in open areas.

Thereafter they battled with all the fortresses and with [203] many cities, erecting diverse types of [siege] machinery, for they were very clever and capable. They took and tore down many fortresses and keeps. It was summertime and extremely hot, and provisions had not been gathered in, for [the Mongols] came upon them unexpectedly. Therefore men and beasts suffered from thirst and, willingly or unwillingly, fell into the hands of the enemy because of the danger facing them. And there were those they killed, and those they kept as slaves for their needs. They treated similarly the densely populated cities, encamping about them and besieging them.


23. The capture of the city of Shamk'or.


One of the nobles, named Molar-noyin, whose lot had fallen over those regions (while they moved from their abode in the Mughan plain) sent a small force of about a hundred [g241] men who came and encamped by the gates of the city of Shamk'or and blocked entrance to and exit from it.

Now at the time, this city was under the authority of Vahram and his son Aghbugha, who had previously taken it [204] from the Iranians. The residents of Shamk'or sent to Vahram and his son for them to come and aid them, saying: "They are few." But Vahram did not aid them nor did he let his son go who wanted to, telling the emissaries: "They are numerous." Moreover, he ordered the citizens not to fight them.

The foreigners' army increased daily until their commander, Molar, arrived and fought against the city. He filled the trench which surrounded the city walls with wood and stalks so that they might easily climb onto the walls. But the people hurled down fire at night and burned the filler. Now in the morning when Molar-noyin saw that, he ordered each of his soldiers to bring a load of soil and to throw it into the trench. When this was done, the area became level with the wall.

Then each soldier applied himself to that part of the city directly in front of him. And they took it, killed all the inhabitants, burned the buildings and took whatever they [g242] found there. They then fell upon other fortresses under Vahram's sway: Terunakan, Ergevank', Matsnaberd (which belonged [205] to Kiwrike Bagratuni, Aghsart'an's son), Gardman, and other regions, Ch'arenk'; while another chief, named Ghataghan-noyin, went to Getabak. Now Vahram who was then in Gardman secretly fled at night to wherever he was able. Meanwhile the army of foreigners battled with the fortresses. Those inside unwillingly provided the Mongols with horses, livestock, and whatever else they demanded. [The Mongols] placed taxes over them and left them in their name.

But those who took Shamk'or had come with all their bags and baggage to Tawush, Katsaret', Norberd, Gag and the surrounding areas. Placing these regions in great straits, they besieged them.


24. Concerning the capture of vardapet Vanakan and those with him.


At that time the great vardapet called Vanakan was dwelling in a cave he himself had hollowed out, near the top of a very high rock which stood opposite the village called Lorut, south of Tawush fortress. He had built a [g243] small church in that grotto and stayed there secretly once his first monastery (opposite Ergevank' fortress) had been ruined by the raiding of Sultan Jalal al-Din. Here he [206] had gathered many books, for he was an extremely studious man and especially God-loving. Many people came to him and studied doctrine with him. When the people multiplied, he was obliged to descend from the cave, and he built a church and rooms at the base of the rock, remaining there.

As soon as the land was destroyed by the T'at'ars and Molar-noyin had come to their borders, the inhabitants of that village applied to Vanakan's cave. It became filled with men, women, and children. Then the T'at'ars came and besieged them in the cave, while those folk inside had neither provisions nor water. It was summertime and extremely hot and they were scorched by the sun, as if in a prison. The children were parched with thirst and close to death. From outside the enemies shouted. "Why do you want to die?" Come out to us, we shall give you overseers and leave you in your places." They repeated this a second and third time with pledges. Those who were in the cave fell before the [g244] vardapet's feet, entreating: "Go and save all of our lives descend to them and make friends with them." Now [Vanakan] replied: "For your sakes I will not preserve my own life if there is any possibility of [your] salvation. For Christ gave Himself up to death for us to save us from satan's [207] tyranny. Thus we are obliged to show the same concern for our brothers."

So vardapet Vanakan selected two priests from among them, one named Markos and the other Sost'enes, who later were ordained vardapets by him. We too were present there studying Scripture in those days. [Vanakan] descended to them. Molar-noyin stood across from the cave on a hill, with a parasol over his head because of the heat. They had blocked us off during the feast of the Transfiguration. As soon as they came near the commander, those leading them commanded them to bow to the ground three times (like camels when they sit), for such is their custom. When they came before him, he ordered them to bow to the east, to their Khan, their king. Molar-noyin then upbraided Vanakan, saying; "I have heard that you are a learned and venerable man, and your appearance reveals you as such," for he was a fine-looking composed man with a glorious beard and white hair. "When you heard the news of our coming to your borders, why did you [g245] not come before us in peaceful friendship, so that I could command that all that is yours be left unharmed, great and small?"

[208] The vardapet replied: "We knew not of your good intentions, but out of dread of you we were seized with fear and trepidation. We did not know your languages, and no one came from you to summon us. Now when you called, we came before you. We are neither soldiers nor lords of goods, but exiles and foreigners assembled from many lands for studying our religion. Behold we stand now before you. Do with us what you will, granting either life or death."

The prince then said to hirn: "Fear not". And he commanded them to sit before him. [Molar-noyin] asked him numerous questions about fortresses and about prince Vahram—where he was, for he thought that Vanakan was a worldly prince ruling the country. Once the vardapet had told what he knew and that he was not a worldly prince, [Molar-noyin] ordered him to bring down the people of the fortress fearlessly and he promised that each would be left in his place with his overseers, and that he would build villages and fields in his name [g246].

Then the priests who had gone with the vardapet called to us: "Come down at once, and bring what you have with you." [209] We descended, quaking, like lambs among the wolves, frightened, terrified, thinking we were about to die, each person in his mind repeating the confession of faith in the Holy Trinity; prior to leaving the cave we had communed in the revered Body and Blood of the Son of God.

The T'at'ars took us to a small fountain in the monastery and gave us water to drink, for we were very thirsty for three days. They then put us in some place of confinement and put the laymen in the portico of the church. They themselves stayed about guarding us during the night, for it was evening. The next morning they removed us to the head of the monastery, to an elevated spot, and searched to see who had anything they needed. As for what was in the cave, the vessels and vestments in the church, the furniture, silver crosses and two gospels worked in silver, these things they gave to the vardapet, but later took from us. Then they selected [g247] from among us men who could go about with them. The rest they ordered taken to the monastery and to the village and left their overseers there so that no one else would search them. They ordered the vardapet to remain in the monastery.

[Vanakan's] brother's son, the priest Poghos, was ordered to come along with us, following Molar-noyin. But the blessed vardapet saved his nephew for he was a youth and he himself [210] came after [Molar-noyin] hoping that it might be possible to free us as well. And [Molar-noyin] made us travel around with him for many days, harassed and harried, on foot and even barefoot. The men appointed to guard us were Iranians, thirsty for Christian blood. They made our lives yet more difficult by all sorts of torments along the way, forcing us along so stringently, like horses on a raid. And if it happened that someone out of bodily weakness or lameness paused a little, they would mercilessly strike his skull and beat his body with sticks, so much so that we could not remove thorns from our feet or someone would attack. Nor could anyone drink water because of those forcing us on.

Upon encamping, they took and crammed us into narrow houses while they surrounded them and guarded, not letting anyone outside to perform his bodily functions [g248]. Instead, [the captives] relieved themselves in the houses, staying inside for many days. Therefore I cannot record all the discomforts which they forced us to endure. Nor did they let the vardapet stay with us, but entrusted him to others to guard carefully, far away.

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